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JD Wetherspoon's half-yearly profit rises

Revenue increases by 8.4 per cent, compared to last year.

JD Wetherspoon, which owns and operates pubs across the UK, has posted a profit from continuing operations of £23.28m for the 26 weeks ended 22 January 2012, compared to £22.14m for the same period last year.

The company reported revenue of £569.38m, an increase of 8.4 per cent compared to the previous year's £525.36m.

Tim Martin, chairman of JD Wetherspoon, said: "The outcome for the first half of the financial year was reasonable, given the pressures on the UK consumer. As previously stated, the main challenges for the company in this financial year of 53 trading weeks will be the continuing cost pressures resulting from government legislation, including further increases to excise duty, business rates and carbon tax."

Total comprehensive income for the 26 weeks in 2012 was £18.31m, as against £30.2m in the same period of 2011.

Like-for-like sales surged by 2.1 per cent, with total sales, including new pubs, increasing by 8.4 per cent to £569.4m (2011: £525.4m).

Like-for-like bar sales also increased by 3.4 per cent; like-for-like food sales were up 0.1 per cent; and machine sales decreased by 3.8 per cent.

Martin added: “Sales since our 18 January 2012 pre-close statement have been disappointing, with like-for-like sales in the six weeks to 4 March declining by 0.7 per cent and total sales increasing by 6.1 per cent.”

The company said that it was concerned by the absolute level of taxes and their continuing increases, especially since supermarkets pay virtually no VAT for food purchases, while pubs pay 20 per cent – in effect, creating an enormous tax boost for supermarkets, enabling them to cross-subsidise drinks prices.

For the half yearly period of 2012, operating profit after exceptional items was £50.52m, an increase of 1.9 per cent (2011: £49.57m).

"As previously stated, we expect the operating profit margin before exceptionals to decline in the second half of this financial year due to continuing cost increases, with the current quarter particularly affected. We are, therefore, slightly more cautious about the potential outcome for the current financial year," Martin concluded.

As of 22 January 2012, the company had total assets of £1.01bn and net bank borrowings (including finance leases) of £456.6m.